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Zombie stories. Are they dead?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Stephyn Blackwood, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. Stephyn Blackwood

    Stephyn Blackwood Minstrel

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    So, excuse the totally intentional pun of a title.

    In TV and games, these reanimated corpses seem to be doing very well. The Walking Dead is breaking it's viewing records again and again. The comics are also still going strong (if not getting even better). Ever year we seem to be getting at least one kind of zombie flick in the cinemas, some decent, some not so decent (I'm not going to talk about World War Z, I might be here for a while). In the gaming world, we have Telltale's extremely excellent Walking Dead spin-off, we have Call of Duty with it's own version of zombie survival, and let's not forget the spectacular apocalypse tale that was The Last of Us (They were basically zombies).

    But zombie books don't seem to fly off the shelves, it's more of a lifeless shamble. There are plenty of them, trust me, I've read a few in my time. And some had some real character to them. Charlie Higson's The Enemy series. Jonathan Mayberry with Rot and Ruin. The afore mentioned World War Z.

    So ultimately, is there any point in committing myself to writing something Post-Apocalypsey/Zombie-esque? Or is it just a waste of my time? Would I be better off trying to reanimate an old WIP?

    Is anyone still interested in the living dead?
     
  2. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

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    They seem to be as popular as ever.

    Personally I avoid them as much as possible. I've seen enough old school zombie films to be satisfied.

    The genre has become a bit of a stale farce.
     
  3. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    It only matters that one person is interested in the genre and that's you. Write what interests you and your time will never be wasted.

    Everything has its ebbs and flows. For myself, I've been interested in the zombie genre since forever. I remember watching Return of the Living Dead in the '80. That interest has never gone away.

    I mean to me this is like asking is anybody still interested in romance, scifi, epic fantasy, etc. the answer is always yes.

    Will it sell? Who knows. If a publisher thinks they can make a buck they will buy those zombie novels. If not they won't.

    For myself, I worry about writing a good story first. If I do that, I think the rest will take care of itself.
     
  4. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    I agree that's it's not dead at all. I have a soft spot for it despite viewing zombies as sort of unoriginal, but it's mainly because I have a soft spot for post-apocalyptic stuff and the genuine horror zombies can have. I still get zombie-themed nightmares.
     
  5. Xitra_Blud

    Xitra_Blud Sage

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    To be honest, I am so tired of zombies. I am done with them. Done. I used to like them but they've been so warn out in the past few years, I don't know what! Not to mention, there's only so much you can do with zombies. Few things I've seen with zombies are original. I watched a movie called "Boy Eats Girl". That was pretty original and fun, and Resident Evil does not fail to do a good job with them, but most others I've seen are pretty unoriginal, overdone and, at this point, boring.

    I don't discourage you from writing about them. If you feel a zombie story coming along, write it. This is just my opinion. Who knows? You may be one to write something original and good and beat my expectations. Go for it. Might even get me back into the zombie thing again. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015
  6. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    I still like zombies myself. I like the undead in general, but my least favorite has got to be vampires. Of course, I don't watch much current TV, so I guess I haven't been over-exposed to zombies as much as some. But ultimately, aren't they rather like everything else--meaning a few zombie stories are good, but most aren't?
     
  7. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I wonder if maybe zombies just work better in visual media? They strike me as the kind of creatures that are easier to fear when seen.
     
  8. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    I actually disagree, I think the suspense and horror of it is better in written form. Same for post-apocalyptic stuff in general.
     
  9. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

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    I think the genre has stagnated a bit, since its height a few years ago. So if you want to be successful with a zombie story, perhaps you should try saying something new with it. Personally, one of the reasons I enjoyed the Last of Us so much was because the infected were more of a backdrop. The story was really focused on the evolution of Joel and Ellie's relationship, and how far you're willing to go for someone you love.
     
  10. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Ummm.... most of the good zombie stuff is exactly this, zombies as backdrop. It goes back to the original Night of the Living Dead. That movie was about racism. And it's sequel Dawn of the Dead was about consumerism.
     
  11. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

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    That's my point, though: the good zombie fiction actually has deeper meaning. The copy cats often miss this, as they usually do with other genres or authors. Tolkien's copy cats are much the same: surface similarities while missing the themes and subtext that made his work great in the first place.
     
  12. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    Being a movie nut I'd just like to point out that that isn't the case. George Romero has stated many times that there were no political motivations behind the movie. The main character wasn't intended to be black until they found Duane Jones, and they didn't change the script afterwards. It's clearly inspired by certain things of that era, but I don't think it was really about racism. I think the movie is great though, because it's a small scary film that did something that hadn't been done before.
     
  13. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Sure enough, but intentional or not, that's what people read into it and take from it.

    Tolkien always stated that LOTR wasn't inspired by his experiences in WW1 or a comment on it, but when you look at it's hard not see the parallels.

    Unconsciously or consciously put in, if your story isn't about something, then it's about nothing.
     
  14. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

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    Personally, I am really tired of zombies. This is only because every zombie story these days seems to be a variation of the same old stuff. However, I am a believer that there is still potential to be had in a zombie story. It all depends on if you can put your own spin on something. This could be the characters, the origin of the zombies, or even some detail about the biology of the zombies. I have a couple of stories that feature the undead, but I only really decided to put them in when I realized that I could put my own spin on it. So are zombies dead? Yes and no (to continue the puns). The classic zombie story has been done to death, but there is still potential to such stories.
     
  15. Helen

    Helen Inkling

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    Sure they are. I guarantee you there will be a zombie blockbuster in the future.
     
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